By Ebele Orakpo
Oh God! How did we get here? How did we descend so low?” asked a commuter by name John, as the CMS-bound commuter bus moved slowly through the Monday morning Lagos traffic. He was reading one of the national dailies, and apparently reacting to one of the headlines.
“Na today we bin descend? E don tey nah!” Bros abeg talk anoda thing jare! said TJ, who was looking over John’s shoulder to read the story, an action popularly called Giraffe method or Giraffing in local parlance.
“What are you talking about?” asked Chioma, anxious to join the debate.
“It says here that six PhD holders, 704 master’s degree and over 8,460 Bachelor’s degree holders applied for drivers’ job in Dangote Group. Is it not a disgrace?” asked John, obviously irritated “It’s an aberration.”
Replied Mercy who had been listening all the while; “No, it’s not a disgrace at all. There is nothing wrong in a man working with his strength to make a decent living. Remember that there is dignity in labour. It’s just a misapplication of talents. Those PhDs would have been better off in research centres or universities imparting knowledge to young Nigerians. But alas, they will only end up as drivers.”
“But do you blame them? There are no jobs and they need to make a living. Many of them have families to cater for so they will grab any job that will pay well. They are even better suited for the job because they’ve got the brain and the brawn,” said TJ.
“But why are we crying more than the bereaved? These people are not complaining. After all, in Europe and America, many of our people, highly educated, end up doing menial jobs. So, what is wrong in them being drivers back home?” asked Chioma.
Continued Chioma; “My joy is that they have jobs. If you have ever been in the unemployment market, you will not be saying this. Thank God for people like Dangote creating jobs and empowering people.”
“There are even incentives. Apart from the huge salaries, they receive allowances on each trip and after they must have reached 300,000 kilometres, about 140 trips from Lagos to Kano, the trucks become theirs at no interests or repayments. Isn’t that great?” asked TJ enthusiastically.
“But isn’t that making a mockery of our degrees? What happened to those drivers that were there before?” asked John.
“Those drivers were illiterates. There is a difference between a literate and an illiterate person. It is easier to deal with a literate person. At a point, Dangote drivers were said to be the most notorious. Most of us were witnesses. They were so reckless on the road, causing accidents so often and giving the company a bad name.
A few times, they had pulled down pedestrian bridges in Lagos and before those were repaired, so many lives were lost. So I think the man did the right thing. Moreover, Dangote Group is becoming a global entity so they must project a positive image at all times,” said Bose.
Narrated Mercy: “This Giraffing thing reminds me of a story I heard sometime ago of a guy who was chatting online with his girlfriend. He noticed that the man sitting directly behind him was giraffing, reading every word he typed.
When he could not bear it any longer, he sent this message to the girlfriend; ‘Baby, please, we will continue later. Someone behind me is reading every word I’m sending to you.’ The guy did not know when he blurted out; ‘It’s a lie. I am not reading anything!’
“Foolish guy, if he was not reading, how did he know what the guy typed?” asked many of the commuters laughing.